Death by PowerPoint in eLearning

Oct 23, 2019

I was given the company PowerPoint template and asked to create a course template. So i did by importing the PowerPoint to articulate and then animating the elements in a way that adds a little movement to the course. I also added a character to walk the learner through the content and some basic slide elements for the content creators to use in different situations. The feedback for the course template came back that it looks too much like PowerPoint. What do you guys do to avoid your course looking too much like PowerPoint? I mean, it's a bit tricky; eLearning Software like Storyline is slide based and ultimately PowerPoint based, so there are some things you just can't avoid, but do you have tips and tricks that allow you to get away from that "death by PowerPoint" feel? 
(I can't use Rise, because the team vetoed it.)

7 Replies
Ned Whiteley

Hi Stefanie,

One option you do have if you particularly like some of the Rise components is to try to replicate these within Storyline. The attached example is one I produced for someone else last week and may give you some inspiration.

In addition, I would strongly recommend looking at some of the examples on this community web site, starting with the links on the home page, as there are people out there who have come up with some great work within Storyline that looks like anything but routine PowerPoint. There are also links to great resources and templates to brighten up your projects.

Hopefully you will also get a number of responses that will provide good advice to help you on your way.

Kiera McAuliffe

Try to break out of the one-way street that is powerpoint and narration. build interactive pieces inside of the stage that require the learners to click and interact. Stay within the companies brand guidelines, but don't just recycle assets. easier said than done, but it is possible. keep it clean and allow plenty of design space. Consider i-framing some of the H5p open source tools into your module or project, they really do bring a fresh approach, especially the interactive video player and interactive presentation player. Depending on your LMS, these may be available as a plugin.

Angela Dunn

Try PowToon. You can download that as a pp plugin and do an explainer video.

Angela J. Dunn
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Judy Nollet

Lots of great suggestions! Here's my 2-cents' worth. 

Typical PowerPoint slides have the title across the top in a colored box. And they often have a colored footer, for example, to include the company logo, slide numbers, version date, etc.

One easy way to break that look is to keep the title on the same background as the rest of the slide, i.e., don't use a fill in that text box. You can emphasize it with a different font and/or text color instead. Of course, that's assuming you need to have a slide title. If there's a way to present the info without one, all the better.

As much as possible, I avoid putting the company logo in a footer. Okay, that might be needed for a public course. But for internal courses, I hate to waste space when the learners already know what company they work for.

I have a client who always wants slides numbered, so I do use a footer for that, with the slide #s right above the PREV and NEXT buttons. I often have the footer's fill color match the player color, to de-emphasize it's importance compared to the rest of the screen. And I use that footer space to fly-in navigation prompts for interactions, so there's consistency in where to look for instructions.

As others have noted above, add interactions wherever possible. Also, remember that slides are FREE!  Instead of putting multiple points on one slide, present each point on its own -- preferably with a corresponding visual

Really need to present multiple points on one slide? You can also get away from the standard bullet-point look by putting each item into its own shape, perhaps with different colors or even photo backgrounds. There are lots of great examples out there of how to re-arrange bullet points for visual appeal.

So, yes, use the company colors and font(s). But otherwise, go ahead and break the PPT mold!

Gerry Wasiluk

Also, a little company education doesn't hurt.  Find a way to inform leaders and clients that PowerPoint doesn't necessarily equal e-learning and what the differences are.  Don't be passive--find a way to be proactive.  I'm giving a talk next month to some young local leaders in our area and that'll be one of my key messages.

That said, I'm fond of generalizing that clients want us to produce two types of learning--elearning presentations (aka PowerPoint on steroids) and true e-learning courses (true learning experiences). 

Unfortunately, I find that most folks want elearning presentations (which are usually cheaper and easier to produce).  The things that I'd like to add to make the course a true learning experience are often the things they want cut out.

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